Friday, July 11, 2014

Novel Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Rating (Out of 5): ~4
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: 2012
Spoilers?: Vague for the ending.

Goodreads Synopsis:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

The Cover:

I really like this cover. It's simple and pretty, I love the artwork, and I really like that the characters are represented on the cover as they're described in the book, along with the headphone, since that's a very present part of the book.


  •  "For some reason, she didn’t want to read in front of him. It would be like letting him watch her eat. It would be like…admitting something.” (Hardback, pg. 41) I completely understand this.
  • "Maybe I’m not attracted to real girls, he thought at the time. Maybe I’m some sort of perverted cartoon-sexual.(Pg. 72)
  • "Disintegrated.
    Like something had gone wrong beaming her onto the Starship
    If you’ve ever wondered what that feels like, it’s a lot like melting—but more violent.”
    (Pg. 72)
  • "'I don’t think I even breathe when we’re not together,’ she whispered. ‘Which means, when I see you on Monday morning, it’s been like sixty hours since I’ve taken a breath. That’s probably why I’m so crabby, and why I snap at you. All I do when we’re apart is think about you, and all I do when we’re together is panic. Because every second feels so important. And because I’m so out of control, I can’t help myself. I’m not even mine anymore, I’m yours, and what if you decide that you don’t want me? How could you want me like I want you?’ […] ‘God,’ she said. ‘I told you I shouldn't talk. I didn’t even answer your question.’” (Pg. 111)
  • "He opened his eyes and looked straight into her. Maybe this was third base.” (Pg. 277) I love this sentiment, that maybe one of the bases is emotional, not physical.
  • "You saved my life, she tried to tell him. Not forever, not for good. Probably just temporarily. But you saved my life, and now I’m yours. The me that’s me right now is yours. Always.(Pg. 310)


I’ve heard so much about this book, that I was excited to read it. And I had a feeling that I would enjoy it, so I’m glad that I did. There has been a lot of praise for this book, but I’ve also seen some different responses about the ending. So I was excited, but a little wary.
I liked both Eleanor and Park. Eleanor is not having a good time at home, living with her mom, siblings, and a not-nice stepfather. She’s also not having a good time at school, because of the way she looks and dresses. I understood why she was having such a hard time, and why she didn’t speak up, but I still hated what was happening to her. Which is part of why I liked what happened with her at the end. That needed to happen.
Park is great, too. He’s got a great family (I love his mother), and he’s a little indifferent (or at least, he tries to be), and he’s influenced by his classmates, but he also falls for Eleanor. I really liked that he’s open about this, too. Even when he feels a little conflicted, he doesn’t back down. I liked that about him.
The way the two grow closer, slowly and warily and unsure, is great. It happens gradually, without either of them meaning to. And I enjoyed how they would both overthink what they were going to say, how they were going to act, and then throw all that away when the moment happened. That felt so realistic, and I related to that so much.
And then how they grow to know each other, when they hang out. This book is surprisingly romantic, I think. Because it doesn’t look or feel like it should be, but it is. There are so many romantic scenes and lines, it’s amazing. Not even sexy ones, either, or times that they kiss. Just holding hands and talking is romantic to them, to a surprising extent.
The ending, however, was very open. I feel like it was open enough to lead to good things, and where Eleanor is in her life is definitely good for her, but I did want a little more closure for her and Park. It was a little too open between them for my liking, but I think it was leading to good things. I can hope so, at least.
Overall, I did rather enjoy this book. It was cute, relatable, funny, fun. And this relieves me of the fact that I really, really want to read Rowell’s other books, particularly Fangirl, and so now I can go pick it up.


  1. I have been so curious about this author. I typically don't read contemps but I think that this author has gotten so much positive praise that I need to go find these. Will you read Landline?

    1. I'll read Landline when I get the chance, yea. It sounds pretty good, like most of her books do. But some of her others are higher on my list to get, like Fangirl. I've heard pretty good things about Landline, too, though.